Everyone loves to blog and each one of us has a different reason to be doing so. In my experience as a blogger for almost a decade, I have seen people pursue blogging for numerous reasons. From being inspired to become a voice on a topic, to leveraging their expertise and sharing it with others. While these reasons are justified to write a blog, some of us have taken on blogging as a compulsion. Something that “I must do, since everyone else is doing it”. Or worse still; “it worked for him, will definitely work for me as well.
From my experience at Startup Meme, Arctic Startup, Dawn News to Creative Chaos, there is quite a lot learnt. I believe this experience may benefit fellow bloggers and those aspiring to be one. I am not going to talk about “how to get guaranteed traffic” or “6 Tips to get link backs, etc.”. I will simply share tips on how you can get the basics sorted and maintain a healthy blog. Without much adieu, I will share the 6 tactics to help you be successful in blogging.
Blogging Tip#1. Quit The “I Also Blog About This” Mindframe
I have noticed many people getting on to the blogging bandwagon to become the next “BuzzFeed”, TechCrunch, Mashable, etc. You might generate traffic since there are enough people searching on the Internet. Your blog might just appear in one of the results. But ask yourself this, “Are you really going to last or create a unique proposition?” I don’t think so.
We at StartupMeme started with a focus on Startups and then our founders decided to write about everything. Did wonders at first, but we lost our niche. We started losing our loyal readers and there was lot to offer to a lot of random users. The only decent and sustained traffic we got was on the startups’ related blogs which was unique. I contributed at Arctic Startup, the blog focused on the Tech/Startup scene in the Baltic region. It had a unique proposition and it has evolved into a major voice globally.
Point is, you need to invest time in finding what interests you. This will help you be specific. While you may not get 2 Million Views, you will be noticed by people in your niche. These will become your loyal followers eventually and promote your content. These loyal users are like you and searching for what you are writing. It will be slow, but consistent. Consistency does wonders for everything.
Tip#2: Blog About What You Have Experienced
Couldn’t be put forward more clearly. Have you ever heard a war veteran talk about the battles compared to a historian who has just studied it? The latter is detailed, opinionated but the earlier gets you immersed. The veteran has been through it and he can get you to imagine things as he has seen them. Works the same way for your blog. I can’t write a review about the problems iPhone 6 users face with the new iOS, without experiencing it myself. Or how to do a DIY Telescope if I haven’t tried it myself. Being decent with content, I can “stitch” a piece of together, but will it have all the angles? The intrinsic details that my readers are searching for? This experience provides all that and keeps your visitors hooked to your blog.
Your readers are smarter and savvy. Don’t think they won’t figure out where you have taken content from and how you have put this piece together.
You might find my tip on selecting the perfect topic for your blog interesting.
Tip#3. Write New Or Write Better
A lot of what people read is based on what their friends have read, found useful and shared/recommended. We are well aware of what is shared; new, interesting or something better than what is already there. Each writer has his or her unique writing style and an opinion. Unfortunately many bloggers are good writers but you will barely find a unique angle, which is their very own. Most of the opinions are like “personally, I will rate the Samsung Note 7 3/5”. Or “Nuclear Energy is perhaps the better and safer option to meet the every increasing energy demand”. Why exactly?
Again, readers are smarter. You can trick them once into clicking a link but if that fails to impress them, they aren’t coming back. Worse still, they will make sure their friends don’t read your blog either.
My tip therefore will be that if you are a good writer, begin blogging about your experiences as they happen. It is easy to get discouraged when the keyword searches are too low for your topics. You might fall in the trap of writing for most searched keywords. Maybe on topics that you are not enthusiastic about. If that happens, you are bound to fail, if it’s not your interest, how can readers find in interesting? Don’t give in to that thought, readers online want original content, they want real stories from, well, real people.
Tip#4. Be Interesting
Just thought of adding this as a separate pointer to emphasize on its importance. Experiment with different media formats like GIFs, memes, Videos, Podcasts, etc. A good mix is always great to have as not everyone is keen on reading text.
Tip#5. “Dang, My Blog Isn’t Getting Traffic”
Happens with the most successful of blogs out there. The difference is a drop of 20,000 visitors on a blog that gets 1 Million visitors is a negligible chunk. Compare that to a 500 visitors drop on a blog that gets 2000 visits, that’s 25% and big. It will dishearten me for sure. There are numerous factors associated to traffic drop and you need to learn all those too. Well at least have knowledge about these so you can tweak your plan of action.
There are multiple reasons for the dip or you not getting enough traffic:
- Your articles are not search friendly – As a writer, you need to understand how certain tools like the Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, etc. work. This helps you get insights about what sort of words that are relevant to your category are people searching online. You can make these a part of your content to have greater visibility for search engines.
- Understand the platform you are blogging on – So if it’s WordPress, see that you have the right theme, the right plugins and tools to help you optimize your content, from the right keyword density to having images with alt text, etc.
- Keep a check on Analytics – if you have no clue about what Analytics is (or any other tool for site stats), you need to start learning about it. It has multiple advantages, from giving an overview on the visits to the time they are spending on the site and if they are visiting enough pages (Bounce Rates). It also gives you details on what keywords are getting you most traffic so you focus more on those and the top visited pages. The previous points will help you target content that is of interest to your audience and will help you develop content that is more long term.
- Understand Google – being essential for success. As a blogger, you need to be up to date with the updates on Google and its algorithms. For example, Google will start demoting your site from results if you don’t have an SSL (“https”) Certificate implemented. Your site is not “Mobile Friendly / Responsive”. Or the content is irrelevant to the keywords that your results are being shown against. More on this in a followup post.
Tip#6. Never Give Up
Yes, keep at it, keep populating content. Remember you will have a better probability to show up in searches and eventually in people’s timelines if you have enough content and a variety of it. The first and foremost thing is to have a visitor click the link to your blog, the rest is an eventual process.
No blog that you read today that generates hundred of thousands of visits today started with probably a few hundred visitors. It is a mix of persistence and of the many points other than those mentioned above that did the trick for them and made them big. I can say that from my personal experience; whenever I have been consistent at writing articles, I have seen seen the number of visitors increase (organically). The other most important blogging tip is to read how others in your industry or category are doing it, the purpose is not to imitate them, but to get an idea on potential topics that you can write better on.
I hope the points are helpful. I will try and touch up on the more technical side of things in my followup posts so stay tuned for more tips around blogging and how to be good at it. Please do keep visiting and posting, encourages me to be more persistent (and actually follow my own tip on blogging great).
GIFs via GIPHY